Sonos Move Is a Portable Smart Speaker That Sounds Just as Good Indoors as Outside

Sonos has become a leader in home audio for those who want great sound throughout their home. Sonos systems are not only easy to set up, but they are also intelligent, connected, and beautifully designed. The one thing missing from their line-up was a portable Bluetooth speaker; today that gets rectified with the Sonos Move.

The Sonos Move is the first Sonos speaker that can go where you go. It’s built to withstand almost anything — rain, snow, dirt, sweat, and even mustard. It’s so durable that you can drop it from about 3′, and it won’t get damaged. Sized a bit larger than the Sonos One, the Sonos Move is perfect for people who want Sonos sound anywhere.

Because Sonos supports their customer’s freedom of choice, they built the Sonos Move to be durable. So durable, that during their drop testing “it actually broke a piece of concrete; it’s that tough.” The Sonos Move is also their first speaker to feature automatic Trueplay. Trueplay is the technology that they introduced a couple of years ago which tunes the speaker’s sound to the room that it’s located in.

Giles Martin, a celebrated music producer whose most recent credit is music producer for the film Rocketman and who also serves as the Sound Experience Leader at Sonos, was on hand to tell us more about the new Move. After expressing that “all music you love has to sound great wherever you are and wherever the product is. Whether it is the bedroom or part of your kitchen to outdoors, it needs to sound great.” He said that Sonos listens to creators and listens to people about what their products should do, and although Sonos works with a team of “amazing Grammy award-winning mixers and producers who help develop our products” making a speaker for the outdoor space was challenging because outdoor speakers can be designed to sound amazing outdoors, but when you bring them inside, they don’t sound as great; they sound bright and brash. And by the same token, when you take an indoor speaker outside, it will sound a bit dull. Even the experience of listening to music outdoors can be changed depending upon where a speaker is placed — the sound can change dramatically depending upon whether the speaker is on the floor or on a tabletop — and that’s not what Sonos wanted. They want music played through their speakers to always sound as good as possible.

The Sonos Move was specifically designed to sound great outside and to adapt and sound great when it is brought indoors. With automatic Trueplay, “Move knows where it is, and where you put it, and it will hear itself and adapt its sound to where it is all the time.”

The Sonos Move has two Class D amplifiers, and one of them powers a downward-firing tweeter which goes into a custom-molded wave guide that evenly disburses sound to all listeners for a wide sound. Because the Move can be used in so many more places that Sonos’ traditional speakers, they had to create auto Trueplay. To simulate how the speaker can adapt to any environment, we listened to it as it was sitting on a cabinet in a typical living room setup. The speaker was lifted by its built-in handle and then placed in a deep drawer. Through the use of the speaker’s built-in accelerometer, Move was able to detect when it was picked up and, well, moved. It then listened to itself, detected the reflections of the room, and adjusted the sound of the music being played to its new space. All of the data used for auto Trueplay is processed on the device, and nothing is sent to the cloud.

Just like any other speaker in the Sonos system, Move give you access to over 100 music services that you can control through the Sonos app or through third-party apps (like Spotify). Move is also AirPlay 2 compatible, and you can control it with your voice. The internal far-field microphone array is used to enable hands-free control using the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Note the far-field microphone array on the top of the Sonos Move.

When you’re connected to WiFi, you can use your favorite digital assistant to control your music, check the news, set reminders, and get questions answered on the Move. When you are away from WiFi, you can pair your phone or tablet for Bluetooth streaming.

On the back, there are three buttons: power, join, and a middle button used to switch between Bluetooth and WiFi. Once you’ve paired your tablet or phone to the Move via Bluetooth, you can stream directly to the speaker.

You can expect to get up to 10 hours of battery life from the Move. The speaker has an IP56 rating, which is the highest water rating you can get without full immersion. I found out that the test used for this rating is done by placing a bunch of water jets varying in strength from what a powerful garden hose might produce to what a fire hose might, shooting from multiple directions at the speaker for three minutes straight. That sounds intense, right? The more waterproof you go, the more sound quality is sacrificed, so while the Move isn’t submersible, it should be able to handle just about any water or dust abuse you can put it through while still sounding fab.

The battery inside the Move is replaceable, and it should last for 3 years or 900 charges; when the battery goes out, you can simply order a replacement and place it in your speaker — and it will be able to go another 3 years or 900 charges. The indoor charging base sits in your home, ready for you to return the speaker to it for charging as well as a place where the speaker can sit and be used inside.

According to Antoine LeBlond, Vice President of Software at Sonos, the battery design that Sonos went with will be able to adapt to being charged for long periods of time, so if you keep your Move in the indoor charging base most of the time and only remove and use the Move on battery power a couple of times a year, you won’t suffer from unnecessary battery degradation.

The Sonos Move is a powerful, versatile smart speaker that will sound great no matter where you take it. The Move will retail for $399, and it will be available on September 24th.

Sonos One SL

The Sonos One SL has the same look, feel, and sound that you get with the Sonos One, but without voice microphones onboard. There are places in our homes where we don’t always want or need to have a smart speaker listening or voice assistance, for instance, if you already have a Sonos One in a room and you want stereo sound, but you don’t want to have two speakers replying when you say “Okay Google …” or “Alexa …”, and that’s when the Sonos One SL will come in handy.

The Sonos One SL is on the left, and the Sonos Port is on the right.

The Sonos One SL will sell for $179.99, and it will be available on September 12th.

Sonos Port

The Sonos Port is the next generation Sonos Connect; it allows you to stream both to and from traditional audio equipment. Aimed more for installation by A/V install professionals, the Sonos Port allows you to add Sonos devices and modern-day streaming services to your existing system. Improvements include better aesthetics, an improved DAC for a better soundstage, and a 12V trigger which allows better reliability towards music. So on your existing amplifier or receiver, there will be a 12V trigger, so that you can use your iPad or phone with the Sonos app to control the port which then controls the receiver.

The Sonos Port will sell for $399, and pre-orders will start soon, and it will initially be available on select channels targeted at install professionals and dealers. It will be generally available in January 2020.

You can check out all of the Sonos products at their site.

 


About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-professed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area — or not.